Result – Uckfield RFC 1s 15 – Ashford RFC 1s 25
Uckfield RFC 1s welcomed League leaders Ashford to Hempstead Fields on Saturday for a clash which would test the improving Uckfield side. A number of position changes were made to the side victorious last week at Old Dunstonians with a handful of players unavailable due to injury and unavailability.
Given the recent storms and ongoing heavy rain, the “Friday Gang” had once again managed to get the playing surface exceptionally good given the circumstances.
The opening exchanges were closely fought, with both teams looking to gain the advantages. Uckfield were controlling the game well, with Charlie Buckland and Daniel Poulton both kicking well for territory. Uckfield had a number of chances and Captain Matthew Evans was able to reach over the try line to score after a number of phases close to the Ashford line.
It took Ashford 10 minutes to register their own score, levelling the game after twenty minutes. The next period was a back and forth contest, with some strong running and phases of play by the Uckfield forward pack. On 33 minutes Uckfield were able to convert a penalty through Fly Half, Charlie Buckland to take the lead. This however, was short lived as Ashford hit back with another try 2 minutes later.
Uckfield 8 – 13 Ashford at Half Time.
The second half started again with both teams pushing for advantage. Uckfield left unlucky not to register with a number of opportunities which went begging. It took Ashford 20 minutes to score a third try. At this point Uckfield seemed to increase the quality and intensity of play with a number of players like Harry Harper-Dowe, Joel Forward and Rhys Pratt all carrying hard and making a considerable impact.
Uckfield scored one of their best team tries on the 70th minute. With a number of phases across the pitch, using width and excellent handling skills. Young scrum half, Sean Bate scored a fantastic try. Converted by Charlie Buckland.
Unfortunately, Ashford were able to score a late penalty to deny Uckfield the bonus point.
While pleased with the performance, the whole Uckfield squad and coaching team were frustrated and disappointed not getting a result.
Next week, Uckfield Rugby Club will be focussed on matters on the pitch against Old Wills.
ALL IMAGES by RON HILL (HillPhotographic)